The Annual NFL Uniform Rankings

It’s that time of year again. Following the re-brand of the Detroit Lions, it’s time to shake things up again in the rankings. This year, in 2017, I’ve included a new number one, a spot the Oakland Raiders have held since the inception of my rankings. Without further ado, here are the changes to 2017, complete with a full analysis of each team’s look. The Uniform Monitor has spoken.

  • Los Angeles Rams- Years ago, I did my “best uniforms in NFL history” story, and I got the Fearsome Foursome Era look of the Los Angeles Rams. This year, the Rams are going back to their roots and changing those awful gold ram horns back to the familiar whites. Add in the classic white and blue pants, while relegating the gold to an accent color allows them to leapfrog the Raiders, who have held the top spot since I started my annual uniform rankings.
  • Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders- The Raiders have the most traditional uniforms in NFL history, and they’ve long held my number one ranking. The only reason they’ve been relegated to number two is the recent overhaul of the Los Angeles Rams.
  • Indianapolis Colts: The Colts just have that “it” factor when it comes to uniforms. They’ve always taken what works, and have had very subtle changes over the years that are only noticeable to uniform enthusiasts such as myself. The horseshoe is by far the best logo on an NFL helmet.
  • Kansas City Chiefs- The Chiefs have been holding steady at number two, but have been leapfrogged in recent memory. My gripe? The leotard red on red look. Other than that, the red is just amazing.
  • Green Bay Packers- The colors of autumn and football season hold loud and clear for the Packers. Nothing beats this color combo. It’s tradition, and it links Bart Starr to Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. The most championed franchise in NFL history in all locations but Pittsburgh (where most fans wrongly only count Super Bowls) with some of the more championed duds. Why are they fifth? The throwbacks.
  • Cleveland Browns- Many will be surprised here, but as a Browns fan, I admit that I initially fell in love with the NFL’s most traditional helmet. That alone puts them into the top ten. Their current look pays tribute to the rich high school football tradition in the state of Ohio, and also gives a nod to the inaugural 1946 franchise with the shadow-drop numbering. The only downside? Too many uniform combos.
  • Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys may be even higher on the list, but they have a few drawbacks: for one, their home pants are just a very ridiculous shade of silver. For another, they have very dull pants for their away look, or the blue jersey combo. They need a common medium here.
  • Washington Redskins- I’m sorry, but I’ve always loved the look. The helmet logo is among the most distinguishable, as are those gold pants. Nothing beats this look, other than the fact of their tendency to every now and again opt for a monochrome home look, which loses them points here.
  • Buffalo Bills- Until 2011, the Bills were one of the lower ranking teams. They’ve since sky-rocketed their way to fifth, but recent trends among the Browns and Rams, as well as their tendency to wear blue on blue (ugh), drop them to nine.
  • Baltimore Ravens- Purple and black is arguably the best color scheme in the NFL, and in sports. It’s dark, mysterious, and just borderline gothic, which I crave. The downside? The purple on black look needs to go. This is one of the few times I actually like in their monochrome, black on black look.
  • New York Giants- They would be tenth if the Rams hadn’t leapfrogged everyone this season. My biggest gripe with the Giants uniforms is the fact they wore that ugly shade of gray with their home blues. Finally, after it being an alternate look for a few years, the white pants are officially with the home blues. Now let’s retire the away grays.
  • Minnesota Vikings- Again, the purple just gets me. Since 2013, the Vikings have regained steam in the uniform rankings. The downside? Once more, another team that loves to go monochrome, and not in a good way. In all honesty, their white on white is nowhere near as attractive as the white on purple. That, and the numbering font.
  • Detroit Lions- The team who made the biggest leap of the year! Finally, they get rid of the black accents, the black facemask, and any shade of black that was reminiscent of both Reebok and the Millen era. Downside? They’re going to go monochrome somewhere in this, but it hasn’t been presented yet.
  • Houston Texans- Perhaps the one team that should go with white jerseys at home, or at least switch to the red alternates for home. Why are they fourteenth? The uniform has potential to be one of the best in the NFL, but there is too much blue, and not enough color contrast.
  • Chicago Bears- Many consider these the best in the NFL. Like the Texans, there is too much blue. A few years ago they went with an alternate orange jersey and it was a beauty. Not traditional, which is typically a knock, but it looked amazing in contrast to the navy-blue helmets.
  • Seattle Seahawks- Instant classics. The one knockoff is the fact of too many combos and too much monochrome. But their shade of blue and gray are the best in the NFL. Their white on blue away look may be the best away uniform in the NFL. If it weren’t for atrocious monochrome, it’d be a top ten look.
  • San Francisco 49ers- Can you believe the 49ers were once at number two in my list? That happened until last season when they introduced that awful black on black look. The original 49ers look had hardly any black on it at all, and upper management goes and messes it up. The good news is those atrocities are now relegated to the Color Rush status, and hopefully they remain there.
  • Miami Dolphins- They made a nice switch a few years back, but it was for the worse. When I say nice, I mean they didn’t mess it up. It was a change that was not necessary, but they didn’t do so badly it was cause for alarm. I love the introduction of the 1966 throwbacks. I want that to be the new permanent look, and in time, it will be. Why? Because this is what teams do in order to generate a fan reaction.
  • Tennessee Titans- Remember those Titans blue on navy home look? Yeah, it once had the Titans at thirty-one in my rankings. Ever since those Titans blue jerseys went to the wayside, the look drastically improved. I’d love a full rebrand back to, (dare I say it?) the old Oilers look, but what do I know?
  • Atlanta Falcons- One of the bottom five basement dwellers until this season. Why? Well, was that a sign of things to come last season? That modified dirty-bird era uniform needs to come back. Right now it’s an alternate, but the Falcons move into a new stadium this season and sometimes a rebrand follows. Please get rid of those early-2000’s Reebok era duds…no pun intended.
  • Denver Broncos- The Color Rush uniforms, ironically were my favorite. Bringing back the old bucking bronco blowing smoke inside the ‘D’ on that navy helmet is exactly where tradition meets innovation. Those orange jerseys were phenomenal. Give me white pants with that look and you have a winner. Potentially a top ten design. Bring them back!
  • Pittsburgh Steelers- I’m a Steeler hater, yes, and one reason is I could never stand the “iconic” uniforms. No block numbering, that shade of gold is annoying, and to be honest, Pittsburgh is not a steel town anymore. And I never once liked the name. Call me biased, but the look never appealed to me. Being from Steeler Nation, I would’ve easily become a fan had I thought the look to be appealing.
  • New York Jets- Hunter green? Why? Mono-green? Ugh. Remember the Joe Namath era look? Not this modern-day knock-off. They need to go back to Kelly green.
  • Los Angeles Chargers- You know why they’re down here. It’s because they have a powder blue alternate that needs to be promoted to primary and the navy-blue needs to be laid to rest for good. They just moved to Los Angeles, rebrand the look already!
  • New England Patriots- You know those Pat Patriot uniforms from the past? They’ll never go back to them. Why? Because the Pats never won a Super Bowl in those looks. They won five in the Flying Elvis helmets with those annoying side panels, and navy blue jerseys.
  • Carolina Panthers- You know my gripe, because it’s an annual one. They need to make the Carolina Blue jerseys the primary. Why are they wearing black jerseys when Carolina Blue is Carolina Blue. It’s in the name!
  • New Orleans Saints- Again, if you’ve followed me for the past few years, you know what I’m about to say. The Leotard look on the monochrome black. They have a perfect color combination of black and old gold, but they mess it up with wearing the black on black look at least four times per season. The black pants have to go. Get rid of them for good.
  • Arizona Cardinals- You know when you take a good look and kill it all in the name of Reebok? It’s time to allow Nike to rebrand the look. For starters, no more black alternates. They’re called the Cardinals. Why are we wearing black? Too many accents, too much piping, and too much going on. Simplify this look!
  • Philadelphia Eagles- Kelly green, Kelly green, Kelly green. Not midnight green, not monochrome green, and for the love of goodness, not black monochrome! What is with the Eagles. Ever since Jeffry Lurie took over the team, this mess happened. The good? The Eagles are lobbying for the return of multiple colored helmets per season, meaning they want to wear Kelly green once more. Why not make it permanent? Bring back the old duds!
  • Cincinnati Bengals- Insert incredibly dirty joke here. There is no team in the NFL more due for an overhaul than the Bengals. According to NFL rules, the two teams under them may not rebrand until later on this decade. But the Bengals have terrible, Reebok era uniforms that are outdated. The innovation stuff is over as many teams revert back to traditional duds. Will they follow the Bills, Browns, Vikings, Lions, Dolphins, and Rams? Sure, they all have a cutting-edge modern look, but they reverted back, and rightfully so.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Alarm clock numbers, about five different colors, chrome grills, a gigantic logo. Is that brown or pewter? The Bucs had a unique-looking uniform from 1997 to 2013. In fact, it was one of the best in football. And then they had to go mess it up.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars- Their helmet is by far the worst in NFL history. Why a two-toned helmet in which the back half looks like a shade of light beer? Can someone explain to me the black numbering on the alternate teal jersey? Oh, and best yet: It makes ZERO sense to have mono-chrome black uniforms being based in Florida. Furthermore, why would any Florida team wear black as a home uniform?